Thursday, August 24, 2017

COLLEGE + Anne of Avonlea + Kayaking + Sunrise Hike + Pretty Pictures (#GoodbyeSummer)


Anne had a long meditation at her window that night. Joy and regret struggled together in her heart. She had come at last. . .suddenly and unexpectedly. . .to the bend in the road; and college was around it, with a hundred rainbow hopes and visions; but Anne realized as well that when she rounded that curve she must leave many sweet things behind. . . all the little simple duties and interests which had grown so dear to her in the last two years and which she had glorified into beauty and delight by the enthusiasm she had put into them. She must give up her school. . . and she loved every one of her pupils, even the stupid and naughty ones. The mere thought of Paul Irving made her wonder if Redmond were such a name to conjure with after all.
"I've put out a lot of little roots these two years," Anne told the moon, "and when I'm pulled up they're going to hurt a great deal. But it's best to go, I think, and, as Marilla says, there's no good reason why I shouldn't. I must get out all my ambitions and dust them."
-Anne of Avonlea Chapter 26-

Gosh, college has arrived rather quickly. It seemed, at the beginning of summer, that it would take a lifetime, but its here and there's no avoiding it. I'm scared. Terrified actually. But I'm not alone. Its comforting to me to read books like Anne of Avonlea, and watch movies like The Waltons, because I get to see Anne and Johnboy going through the exact same things I am going through, and its nice to have a friend through it all. (Even though they might be fictional.) 

Anyways, I've had a lovely summer. I went to the fair with friends, took a family road trip to a ghost town with my family, went rafting and kayaking on a river, scaled a mountain at sunrise, went target practicing with my dad, read books, watched all my favorite childhood movies and tv series, drank tea, packed and re-packed for college, slept in, got my hair cut super short, worked on my novel and  had lots of coffee with friends at Barnes and Nobles. Its hard to leave my friends and family, my home town and all the childhood memories I have. I wish I could just hold onto them forever and ever. But the reality is, I can't. It's all going to be hard for sure, and I know I'm going to cry a lot, but I'm excited at the same time. 

My favorite thing this summer would probably have to be the sunrise hike I went on with my mom, grandma, aunt and cousins. We got up at 4:30 in the morning and drove up to the trail head and hiked until sunrise. By that time we were at the very top of a majestic mountain overlooking lakes, surrounding towns and dark, mighty mountains with the sun shining out behind them. It is something I will remember forever, as long as I live.

I suppose I should talk about how my blog is going to change. I will probably not be posting quite as often as I have in the past, just because, ya know, #collegelife heheh, but I plan to post every once in a while, because I love blogging and writing, and I don't want to give it up completely. Also, some pretty big thoughts and plans have been circulating around in my brain for a few weeks now, about how I would like to change the direction, and over all topic of my blog, but I will keep you in suspense, until I actually plan to take action and do it, but now is just not the right time with getting use to college life, away from home. But you might want to stay tuned, just the same. 

This kind of turned out to be a random/lots of little bits of info/quickly thrown together post, but whatever. Enjoy the rest of your summer, peeps! <3

-Clara 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized, I am somebody...


I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. But then I realized I am somebody... 

The world is full of things we wish we could change. Sometimes we think the world's issues are too big for us. We think, “I could never fix that.” But the truth is you can. We are all guilty of blaming others for the problems of the world. I am constantly hearing adults complain on radio and television, saying things like, “someone needs to fix the country!” or “someone needs to end world hunger!” "someone needs to fix this or that!” But seriously. Think about this. Everyone is a somebody. You, no matter how young you are, can change our world for the better. 

In this post I will be writing about three issues that our generation faces, that have really been on my mind and heart lately, as well as things we, as young adults, can do to prevent them. 


Suicide//

Depression, anxiety, harassment, rape, bullying. abuse and suicide are real things. I won't deny that these things are an everyday reality for some teens living in the twenty first century. I, personally have never experienced depression or suicidal thoughts. Probably the reason for this being I have been home schooled my whole life and have never had to deal with the issues kids in public school have to deal with. But I know people who are public schooled and about how they are affected, by these real, raw issues everyday. Specifically to this post, I'm talking about suicide. 

There is suicide prevention month, hot lines, commercials and billboards. But what are people actually doing to prevent suicide in teenagers?

Adults say they want to prevent suicide in teens. They say they want to help, but then they go produce things like '13 Reasons Why'. I've never seen this show, nor do I have a desire to, but from all the things the news is saying about the recently released Netflix TV series, 13 Reasons Why, its pretty much a dramatic step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide with a whole bunch of other questionable stuff thrown in. I've even read that there have been several young people reported (like 14 and 15 year old's), who have committed suicide after watching 13 Reasons Why. I just don't understand people who say they want to prevent these awful things, but they turn around and produce trash for their teens, that is causing them serious harm. This isn't really something I would expect from people like Selena Gomez who is suppose to be kid friendly, and “a good role model for kids.”

Instead of producing shows that depict graphic suicide scenes, death, depression, anxiety, drugs and unhealthy relationships, why don't they produce shows that show teens their full potential? Why can there be people out there who show teens that they can rise above depression and live, not completely problem free, but happily, and confident in themselves and who they are. These teens just want to feel needed and wanted by their peers and its sad when supposed “friends” can make other kids feel so unwanted, ugly, socially outcast etc. that they would go kill themselves. 13 Reasons Why just makes some teens everyday reality into a dramatized temptation of death and how its “better” than staying alive and having to deal with trash at school and at home. This show is an encouragement to try suicide, not something that draws kids away from suicide. 

If adults won't fix this, we should. That probably doesn't mean we are going to go make our own TV show, but there are little things we can do for our friends who might be suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. For starters, just let them know you care. We never know what a peer might have going on in their lives. They may have situations at home or emotions that we don't even know about. We might not know their problems causing their depression, but we can make them feel loved just the same. Text them and ask them if they want to get together with you and your friends, let them know you are there for them if they ever need to talk. Tell them you love them and want the best for them. If adults as well as teens just showed people love, we could really lower the suicide numbers in America. 


Abortion//

Yeah I know, here comes another pro-life speech. And with it comes a whole bunch of negative comments from people I don't even know. But I don't care, about how many negative comments people leave on this post. Someone needs to speak up about it. 

I recently read in a new article about a mother in Arizona who pushed her 17 month old daughter in a stroller, into the dessert on the largest American Indian reservation in the nation, and left her to die in the heat. She eventually was sentenced to prison for 20 years for the murder of her child. The prosecutor of her case was quoted, “The child was no doubt afraid and in physical distress, needing the one person who is supposed to care for her the most, that being the mother. 20 years is simply not enough.” The U.S District Judge, David Campbell said that the mother had committed an “intentional, cold-hearted, horrendous killing of an innocent child.” 

This made me sooo mad. Not only about this mother just leaving her child to die, but also about what the judge and prosecutor said. They called this act of heartlessness by a mother, words like “horrendous”, “cold-hearted”, “intentional” and “murder”, which is true, but what I don't get is the hypocrisy in this statement. This baby girl was 17 months old. Her mother left her in a dessert to die. People call it horrible, cruel, and say that a 20 year sentence isn't enough, but they turn around and fight for abortion. What is the difference between this case and that of a seven-teen year old girl who goes into a clinic to have her baby murdered for free after having irresponsible sex with her boyfriend? I don't get this at all. That 17 month old baby's heart was beating. So was that girl's baby who was murdered by abortion. These children don't deserve to die, and these adults who defend women's rights to have abortions don't deserve to get away with this double standard. Is this justice? Is this really what our country is coming to? 

As common as abortion is in our world, there are still things we can do about it that can make a big difference. As I write this, it brings to mind, Faith's post about being pro-life. It was such a touching story about how her family decided to take in a baby who's mother was going to have an abortion. Faith and her family did something about this. It would be nice if there was more people out there who cared enough to the point that they would take other peoples kids into their own homes to save them from a "horrendous, cold-hearted, intentional" murder. But don't you see? We can be those people to. Even if you're just a kid and can't take in a baby, you could go to an pro-life rally in your town, do the 40 Days of Prayer, or get involved at your local pregnancy care center, and most importantly you can pray for the thousands of women who have abortions every day, that they would realize the truth about abortion. Also, for those of us as bloggers, we have a platform. We have an audience that reads what we put out there. What better way to get the word out that to speak up about these issues?


YA Fiction// 

The whole “Rebellion Against YA” thing has been going on in the blog-spheare for a long time. I've loved reading all your rants about Young Adult fiction. Its amazing and soooo exciting  to see my blogger friends doing something about the young adult fiction adults are giving teens to read these days. Its also really sad that us teenagers have to fix this problem ourselves. It just shows us that adults really have low expectations of us. The things that are included in YA fiction now days are issues like rebellion against parents, drugs, irresponsibility, sneaking out, and underage drinking. Adult authors think they are getting down on our level, and that these issues are things that connect with teenagers, but seriously? We can handle so much more. We can handle topics like war and peace, love and hate, pain and joy. Those big topics from the history of our world that would influence us for the better if only they were given to us. These topics might be a little rough, but will impact our lives for good in the end, and possibly change the way we view the world and the people around us. 

So many teens are doing so much about this. I recently finished Camp Nano July, and it was so encouraging to see everyone in my cabin striving for the common goal of producing clean YA for fellow youths. Its just so cool and gets me all hyped up and super excited about my own novel that I am working on as well as everyone else's. I think we are all doing something life changing for the next generation. So, never give up. Keep writing and editing and sending in your manuscripts to publishers because we are making history with our words. 
_______________
If you didn't get anything out of this post, please get this. We are all difference makers. No matter if you are 10 or 25 or 75, we can all do something to make our world a better place. What will you do? 

What are some of the issues that you would like to change about our world?

How can you change them for the better? 

-Clara 

Friday, July 14, 2017

for granny su


Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to someone very special to me, perhaps for a very long time. It hurt. It still does. I cried myself to sleep last night, and tried to keep the memory clear in my mind of her house, and that last time I drove away from it. The last hug we gave each other, before I walked out the door, I had walked through so many times over the past year. You see, we hadn't known each other very long, but we bonded, you know?

Something in each of us found the other, and we knew we were meant to be friends. Through our friendship, I learned that the word 'friend' can come through people of all different ages. You don't have to be the same age to be kindred spirits. In fact, she was a lot older than me. Old enough to be my grandmother, but we were so close, and our friendship was the kind that is rare and precious. I remember the day when I asked her to be my adopted grandmother. She looked surprised. She teared up and said she would be honored. She told me she never could have children of her own, and she would love to have me call her granny. I felt so special that day.

Granny Su was the one who gave me confidence in so much, and told me I could do or be anything if I really wanted it. She told me that happiness is a journey, not a destination. And the thing was, I believed her.  Isn't it special to have those people in your life, that if they say something, you know they genuinely mean it? Its hard to leave a person like that. It hurts a lot.

As I am preparing to leave for college, fly from home and say goodbye to these special people like her that I won't be able to see for several years, I am starting to realize that growing up is hard. It brings change, fear, unknown people and places, it brings goodbyes. It brings a little bit of the grim world out to light, and we start to understand about how much the world is really hurting. But in the mist of this is our individual lives. Our own race, our own journey and our own story. I guess I'm just at a chapter right now that brings tears and pain, but I know that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and everything will be alright soon.


-Clara 


Monday, July 10, 2017

The Oldies Know (tips from Writers long ago) + Meet My Characters from Negative Time + CampNano Update


What I adore is supreme professionalism.
I am bored by those who can only write when its raining.
-Noel Coward 1899 English playwright and songwriter


One ought to write only when one leaves a piece of ones 
flesh in the ink pot each time one dips ones pen. 
- Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy 1828 Russian novelist and philosopher


I think it can be dangerous for young writers to be modest when they're young, 
I've known a number of truly talented writers who did less than they could have done because they weren't vain and unpleasant enough about their talent. You have to take it seriously.
 - Norman Mailer 1923 American novelist and writer


Nighttime is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to
 be yours, because everyone else is asleep. 
- Catherine O'Hara 1900 American novelist


The more articulate one is, the more dangerous works become.
 - May Sarton 1912 American poet and novelist


We are already a week and a half into Nano? Insane.

I've been cracking away at this novel business, and have written roughly 5,000 words this month. I'm kind of behind on my word goal, but I'l catch up. *winks* When I did Nano in April, writing felt really slow, and it seemed as if the plot was going no where at all, but this month everything in the plot is working out well, and I have all these ideas for new plot twists.  I am super excited about the rest of my novel, and how my characters will grow and change in the process. If you would like to read my synopsis, you can check out my Nano project profile here. Basically, its a post WW2 novel, that begins at the very end of The Second World War. It deals with less of the Jewish side of the war and more with the German point of view. It also, covers a little bit of the African American segregation that was going on in Germany before the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's.

Its basically a story of two recently orphaned twin sisters, who's German parents get killed by the Nazis for hiding Jews in their home. The sisters, Briella and Eve, get placed into an orphanage and are forced to adapt to their new life. In the mean time, a completely different story is happening with a 16 year old boy, named Roman, who lives in a Hitler Youth school, training to be a Nazi. He is an artist, but the school discourages anything that takes away from their training for the Werhrmacht, so he hides his art, secretly sketching by moonlight. When the school is destroyed by a bomb and all those who attend the school plus the officers have to escape the country. The two stories eventually mesh together, but lets say I haven't completely figured out how thats gonna happen yet. *winks*

Meet my characters!


Eve


Jude practically dragged Eve through the brush of the forest until they reached the yard where the well stood. They paused for one moment, looking up at the orphanage. Lights flickered on the first and second stories of the tall, brick building. Eve was gasping for breath by the time they reached the stairs.



“Oh great now, we're gonna get it.” Jude snapped at Eve, as he stomping up the steps.



“Hey, it was your fault!-,” Eve shouted after him. Another bomb landed somewhere in the distance. “You were the one who dragged me out there.” She yelled at him over the sound of the screeching airplanes overhead. Jude shouted something back at her as he reached the door of the orphanage, but she couldn't hear what it was. He disappeared inside. She looked up at the black sky before padding up the stairs and slipped through the door herself, where a reprimand most likely awaited her.



As soon as Eve stepped through the dark doorway, she was stampeded by children, all in white nightgowns, like her own, running through the hallways of the orphanage, and down the stairs that lead to the cellar. Jude was no where to be seen. Sister Anna was stationed in the hallway with the children, scurrying them through the hall. Eve was surprised at the fact that she was still wearing her habit. And at 3am none the less! “Don't nuns ever undress??Eve thought to herself. She shrugged off the perplexing question, and ran downstairs with the others.



Another bomb crashed in the distance.



Just then Eve, remembered Briella and the horrid fever she had, when she had crept out of the window. She felt selfish now for getting distracted on that venture with Jude. Her heart rate started to pick up and her eyes searched the cellar for his sister, where the other children huddled together on the cold, damp floor. The younger children rubbed their sleepy eyes with grubby hands, and some cried in fear of the crashes from the distant bombs while the older children attempted to comfort them. Eve spotted Mara and Iris huddled together under a blanket in the corner, and hurried over, sitting down beside them. 



“Have you seen Bri? I can't find her!” She whispered loudly. A few more children filed into the cellar before Eve heard the slamming of the cellar door, then the stomping footsteps of Mother Angelina.



“No, she was still in bed when we left our room. Sister Anna said she would help her downstairs. She seemed sick.” Iris whispered. She was frightened, and held a small, ragged teddy bear with a red ribbon tied around his neck, in her arms. Even at ten years old, she still had a teddy bear. Eve scoffed inwardly.



“Yes, and we saw was you trying to sneak outside after curfew!” Mara reprimanded. Her fiery red hair seemed to glow in the darkness of the cellar.



“That's none of your business!” Eve snapped as she hopped up onto her feet and began searching for Briella. She walked about the cellar, bare of furniture and only holding a few wooden crates used for storage of clothing and quilts. She searched every face, until she heard the cellar door open once again. She turned her attention to the bustle on the stairs then a voice cried out to her,



“Eve! Your sister is over here.” It was Sister Anna. She was helping Briella down the stairs. She was wrapped in a blanket, and looked tired and cold. A fit of coughing caused her tired hands to quickly fly up to her mouth to shield everyone from her sickness. She was quite sick, and Eve began to feel very badly about leaving her sister to go gallivanting with “that black boy”, Jude.


Roman

Another early morning, and Roman was awake with his secrets in hand. The sun had risen, and it looked as if it would be a beautiful day. Roman smiled to himself, gazing out of the window, toward the running track. He panned the yard, when his eyes caught on the marble fountain in the courtyard. He eyed the small figurine goddess that rested on top of the running fountain. Suddenly, across the room, Roman heard a rustling in the bunk across from his. He quickly hid his secrets under the covers, and quietly as he could, slipped down into the sleeping position under the sheets. As he did so, something dropped off his bunk and onto the floor.



“I've been watching you.” a voice spoke out, breaking the peaceful silence.



Roman froze. Terror struck deep in his heart. His secrets must not be found out. His heart beat fast, and his breathing was frantic. He could only pray it wasn't his officer. He couldn't tell who it was.



The rustling noise in the bunk across from his could be heard again, like someone getting out of bed. Romans eyes where glued to the white, chalky ceiling. Please don't let it be Roger. He heard footsteps. Roman squeezed his eyes closed, as if somehow this horrible dream would end, and no one was there at all, but he knew he couldn't escape reality.



I said, I've been watching you.” the voice spoke again. Roman opened his eyes slowly, to see Henry, a boy of about fifteen, standing, looking up at Roman who was laying on his bunk in shock. Henry's face held curiosity, and judgment. He held a single red pencil in his hand. Tilting his head, as if to say, “You're in trouble now.”



***

Roman and Henry sat on the bunk across from each other. Each dressed in their regulation white night shirts.



“How long have you been keeping this a secret?” The red headed Henry asked, as he handed back the red pencil to Roman.



“I've been doing art ever since I could remember. This set, was a gift from my grandfather, last Christmas.” Roman explained, as he pulled back the sheets of his bunk to reveal a sketch book, and a brown paper box of colored pencils. The sketch books smooth, leather cover held the name, Roman Schneider.



“Can I see?” Henry asked, holding his hand out, as if to demand to see the sketch book.



“Sure.” Roman replied nervously. No one had ever seen his work besides his grandfather. Even when he lived with his aunt and uncle, he had never shown them his secrets.



Henry flipped open the cover of the sketch book. The first sketch was of two little boys, both about seven years old. They held fishing poles in their hands, and they where walking, barefoot, over a little footbridge, as if they where on their way to go fishing. They where frolicking and playing about as they went on their way. They both looked so happy as they skipped along. 

The next sketch was a beautiful mountain scene. Perhaps the Swiss Alps, Henry thought to himself. A little cottage was nestled up against the mountain side, smoke drifting from its chimney, laundry hanging on the line, and a stream bubbled near by. A small red water pump could be seen on the far right of the house. Henry looked up at the pensive Roman, with wonder. The sketches held such detail. Each pencil stroke, perfect. He flipped over the next page, which held the sketch of a woman's face. Her expression was calm and peaceful, almost angelic, and her eyes danced like stars.

“Who is this?” Henry asked pointing a finger at the sketch.



“That's my mother. She died only three years ago.” Roman explained. Henry didn't give his condolences, he was busy flipping through the pages, the looked of wonder and surprise still pasted on his freckled face. He ran his hand through his thick, rusty red hair and gave way to a heavy sigh, his cheeks puffing up before releasing the air trapped inside his mouth.



“These are beautiful, chap.” Henry exclaimed. Roman was not expecting anyone to be so excited about his art. He had always kept it secret, so not to upset the officers, for all they where focused on was discipline, drills and hard work. Roman made up his mind that they did not care for art, after hearing on the wireless about the killing of many Jewish artist, and the burning of their paintings. If only Roman could try his hand at painting, and not just simple sketching. He would give anything to paint.



“So, will you tell on me, Henry?” Roman asked, with worry in his voice, as he closed the sketch book, and returned the red pencil to the brown paper box.



“Uh... no chap. This will be our little secret. Okay?” Henry questioned, sticking his hand out for a handshake.



“Thank you, Henry.” Roman said, relieved as he shook the boys large hand. 



“Now, I should get back to my bunk, before the bell rings, or Stewie wakes up.” Henry laughed as he jumped down off Romans bed, and pointing over to Stewart who was snoring. Roman laughed and put his art supplies under his mattress again, and laid back down under the sheets. A few minutes later he was asleep again, but not for long. The bell rung and brought Roman to a start. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. Another day had begun. Roman sighed. 


David

“Roman,” Officer Heinz said sternly, taking a quick step toward the boy.



Roman wanted to run. Run far, far away from the school and Officer Heinz and all the other boys, where no one could find him, no one would talk to him. He would go to a place where he wouldn't have to run another lap, climb under another fence or be shouted at ever again in his life. He wanted to run, he told himself a thousand times inside, “run, run, run.” but he just couldn't. His feet wouldn't let him, and the sharp fixing gaze of Officer Heinz, who was nearing closer and closer, kept him in his place.



“Roman, this is.....-art.” He said flipping though the pages of the sketch book, scanning the sketches, his voice shaking skeptically. “This is against the rules.” He almost whispered the word rules. Then quickly replied in a more harsh tone,“You know that, right?”



Romans mind drifted back to the day where Officer Heinz had yelled at him for not jumping off the ladder into the flag as part of their daily drills, and how bad his ear hurt afterward. He was scared of this man. He was fiery, authoritative, and strong. Stern, brave and young. All the boys looked up to him. He seemed a man of indestructible iron to them, but Roman saw something behind his eyes, that the others didn't take time to notice. Officer Heinz was a broken man. Deep behind the sternness were tears refusing to break through, and possibly a smile from the memories of his childhood. It was almost like he was forced too quickly to grow up. He was tired. Not yet twenty three, but the look in his eyes, and his expressions wore the age of a fifty year old man.



These facts might have made him a little less intimidating to Roman, but there was still the cold, piercing look in his eyes, that blocked those tears and memories from surfacing, and those disapproving words he spoke, that made Romans heart beat even faster, and caused his hands to clam up in fear.



“Yes sir.” Roman hesitated. He knew art was discouraged at the school. Actually it was flat out not allowed .The boys were only there to learn how to be good soldiers. Their one and only business was to focus on their drills, obey orders and train for the physical exam upon the time of entering the German army themselves after graduating. Roman tried his best at all these things, but it just wasn't him. He wasn't a fighter. Kids aren't suppose to be soldiers. They were suppose to have fun, play ball in the streets with friends, go swimming in the river, climb trees. But, he wasn't a kid anymore, at sixteen. And he couldn't change the fact that he was stuck at this school, and couldn't escape it. He knew art was not allowed, but he did it anyways, and now he was caught.



Then, Officer Heinz did something unexpected. He closed the sketch book, panned the room, and cocked his head to look out of the broken window to make sure none of the other officers were within hearing distance. He stepped closer, bent down close to Romans ear, and whispered, “These are really good, Roman. This is definitely not allowed, but.....” his voice trailed off.



Roman's innocent eyes popped. His expression could be compared to that of a scared rabbit, cornered by a predator. Roman couldn't believe what he had heard. He cleared his throat nervously.



“Sir?” Roman whispered. Officer Heinz then closed the sketch book, straightened his posture, and handed the supplies back to their owner.



“Its David, actually. I'm not much older than you anyways.” He whispered sarcastically, as he panned the room yet, once again. “Loose the 'sir', kid, okay?” Something in his eyes changed just then. They seemed to soften. They seemed lighter. Roman's heart settled.



“Yes, si-” Roman caught himself, “Ok.” he simply replied. He was astounded.



“Here, follow me.” David commanded. The two of them maneuvered the toppled, battered and broken furniture that littered the building until they reached the far side of the school, farthest from where the bomb hit, into a corridor of rooms that Roman knew were the officers private quarters. The boys were not permitted to enter that hallway. Ever. It felt strange to him, to be walking down the 'forbidden hallway', following a man that just few hours before had been his dread, and his fear. The man who had just now asked him to call him by his first name. He new knew the officer didn't hate him now. Roman caught himself smiling, and repeated the name over again in his mind.



David. It was a nice name.


What are your characters names?
Do you find it easy to come up with character names or not?
How is Nano going for y'all? 

-Clara 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Grace & Gods Love for The "Bad People" of The Bible


I grew up in church.

     I was just your typical church kid, who knew all the Bible stories, Sunday school songs and John 3:16 by heart. I remember clearly sitting in class on Sunday mornings, in a circle around the Sunday School teacher, as she moved the little people over the felt board, and told the stories of all the Heroes of the Bible. 

    David, Noah, Paul, Esther, Peter.

     I remember desperately wanting to be like them and marveling at their bravery, faith and trust in God. It was all so fun. These stories were full of colorful, bright and lovely places, the characters were amazing and everything was so comfy cozy and Veggie Tale-ish.

    But as I grew older and started reading the Bible for my self, I started to second guess the way these stories were taught to me. Take the story of Noah for example. Learning about this specific story in Sunday School, all the photographs the teacher held up were of rainbows, friendly animals, a beautiful ocean, and Noah and his family looking all happy because they were on that boat, trusting God. Everything looked so...enjoyable? 

     But when you actually look at the Bible it, says, “The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.” Genesis 6:5-6. God was angry. Does that sound very enjoyable? He was going to destroy all of the people on earth except for Noah and his family. Do you think Noah would really be smiling? Can you really just imagine what the Flood might have been like? Children screaming for their mothers as they suffocated under the rushing water. People's skulls getting split open by rocks as the ocean tossed them around. All the mangled corpses and body parts that would have surfaced after the flood has ceased. These people would have been Noah's neighbors, his friends, his distant family, and to see them die.....? This was not the pretty picture I saw in Sunday school. These images make me shudder. Reality is, the stories of the Bible aren't G rated, and neither are the people. In fact, Noah was a drunkard. That was a huge weakness for him. He couldn't stay sober, yet God still used him to save all of humanity from being completely wiped out. 

    And what about David? He was the bravest of the brave. In Sunday School we learned that he practiced his harp for an hour a day like any 'picture perfect' child would, he always obeyed, he watched his families sheep without being nagged about it by his dad, he killed a giant, a bear, a lion. He was the ultimate hero. But again, as I started to read these stories for myself, I began to see that these so called “heroes” weren't exactly who I thought they were. I found that David got a woman pregnant, then to cover up killed her husband. What the heck? David? No way! Are you sure? 

    I was shocked to find that Adam was a coward and didn't defend his wife at all, Noah was drunk, Lot got his daughters pregnant and Rahab was a prostitute...These people were not who I thought they were, and as I read, I found that parts of the Bible are full of lying, deception, murder and rape. I became super uncomfortable as I read these “un-sanitized” stories of the Bible on my own, and all the details I was spared of as a kid. I had no idea.

    You're probably asking, what the whole point of this post is anyways. No, its not to bash Sunday School, the way my teachers taught me or the Bible. Not at all. But the point I am trying to make is that I realized that even the “Great Heroes” of the Bible had their problems. Everyone does. In my Sunday School years I wasn't able to fully grasp some of the content the Bible possesses, and I understand why all the “fluffy” photos depicted the stories that way because of my age then, but I understand now. Now, the Bible stories seeme closer to real life. I connect with them because I sin. I might have not committed anything as drastic as murder, (even thought the Bible says all sin is equal), but I lie, I cheat, I don't listen to my parents, I get angry when I shouldn't, I don't treat my mom the right way all the time. I related to their problems, because they were sinners just like me, and I understand. 

    I often think about if someone were to hook up a projector screen to my brain. If everyone could see every thought I have, every bad word I think, everything I do, watch or listen to. It probably wouldn't be very pretty. But the thing is....God sees EVERYTHING already. He does have that “projector screen” connected to our brains. He knows every thought. And that's scary. He sees who we truly are. He sees the real us, and not the person we act like, every Sunday at church. But the amazing thing is, The King of the Universe sees all that awful stuff inside us, and he still says“ I wanna save those people.” Talk about genuine, true love right there. 

    I guess I have realized that the people in those Bible stories were just like every one else. Peter denied Jesus, Paul persecuted Christians. Moses disobeyed. We all are “bad” people. But that's why we need grace. 

    You see, we look at David and think “why would you do that with Bathsheba? You know whats gonna happen right? I definitely wouldn't do that if I were him!” But really? We all have our own problems. Our own lusts. Our own selfish desires. Our own times of spiritual weakness. Our own struggles with certain sins. Who are we to judge David? But the difference between David and any other person on the planet, is that David confessed. He was humble. He knew he was wrong and he actually cried over his sins asking God to forgive him. He knew the importance of being earnest, and God recognized that, and gave him grace. God actually said that David was the man after His own heart. That's pretty special. 

    So you see, these “heroes of the Bible” weren't perfect. They were just human like everyone else. Sinful, deceitful, lying humans in need of grace, that humbled themselves before God. And that's not easy. Humbleness really takes a lot of strength. Its hard to admit that you're wrong. Its so easy to shove our sins under our proverbial “bed” and make our outward selves look perfect to others while letting our sin and lust fester on the inside. These men and women were truly heroes because they realized that they couldn't do it on their own and that they needed a Savior. They were strong enough to say, “God please forgive me”, and they realized it wasn't all about them. It was all about Him. 

    And that's the thing. 

    Davids story wasn't all about David. It was about Jesus.
    The woman at the well's story wasn't all about her. It was about Jesus.
    Paul's story isn't all about Paul. Its about Jesus. 


    These people were just ordinary sinners, but with God in them, they were heroes. The Bible is full of stories of redemption and grace, and love and compassion. Jesus is really amazing, and so gracious to us. For all those times I've fallen away from Him and said “I don't need you God” , He has always been there for me anyways. He never fails and He never gives up on us. 

-Clara 

Monday, July 3, 2017

we're all still learning. || a poem


06.25.17

don't accept something as truth
just because its coming from someone you respect.
we are all still growing.
we are all still just learning to breathe,
to care,
to see,
to forgive,
to live,
to love.
we are all still learning about what it means to be human.
and each of us have to discover what that means to us,
in our own time.

c.r ryder

emotions on something spiritual 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

WHAT HAPPENED TO JUNE??????? ft. Julia's poem book + camp nano excitement + cute things VBS kids said + two months till college + photos of my desk


So, June just happened, and it seems to have flown by so fast! It was a pretty great month. The first half was crazy busy with being in California, then going to help out with VBS at my aunts church, but all in all it was a great month. Just two more months till college, and I am hoping those months will fly by as well. I am ready, and so so excited! Bring it on! 

Awesome Stuff
  • Helping out with VBS. Lots of goldfish, water games, and singing. 
  • Taking the siblings to go swimming at a local pool.
  • Realizing that I have less than two months before college starts! *squeals*
  • Getting Julia's poem book in the mail!
  • Cool summer nights, where I can fall asleep to the sound of crickets and the breeze.
  • FaceTimeing with Julia on my birthday in the hotel stairway. SO MUCH FUN! 
  • Bob Ross. He's just awesome, k.
  • I found out I share a birthday with Erroll Garner. Like, he's dead, but its still pretty cool! 
  • Getting my desk all ready for Camp Nano!
  • Getting Hobby Lobby in my town. Best thing that has happened since the library was built. 
  • Having a JAG marathon.
  • Tent camping out in my friends back yard, building our own fire pit, and singing songs around the campfire.

Hilarious Saying from VBS Kids 

*talking to a little girl at vbs about balloons* 
Little Girl: I like balloons, but I am giving this one to Jesus. *lets go of balloon outside* 
Me: Ohh, do you think Jesus likes balloons like you?
Little Girl: Yes, and he probably have a whole bunch of them up in Heaven, and when I go see Him after I'm dead, he will give them all back to me!

Little boy: "I'm gonna run through that sprinkler, and be wet, then I'm gonna be legit!" 

Girl:"Are you an old maid?" *group of little girls asked me while playing 'Old Maid' card game* *gif perfectly explains my inward reaction* 


Kid: "Wanna hear a joke??" 
Me: Sure! I love jokes!" 
Kid: Okay, so there are two things I can't eat for breakfast, what are they?" 
Me: Um, bananas? Or Carrots?!" 
Kid: Nooooo, the two things I can't eat for breakfast are lunch and dinner!!" *evil laugh* 

Me: "What do you want for breakfast?"
Brothers friend: "Something cheap."

Awkward Stuff

  • When you get into one of those awkward homeschool vs. public school conversations with a public school kid, and you are trying to convince them that we actually do school. 
  • The second hand embarrassment that comes with watching Bill Nye The Science Guy *cringes*
  • When I find myself wondering who Pete is and why we do things for his sake??? 
  • That awkward moment when you say "What?" three times and no one answers so you just agree. 
  • That moment when you try to join in a conversation, when there is a pause, but just as you are about to speak someone else jumps in.
  • When you push on a toy that says "PUSH ME" and it won't shut up so you just walk away like nothing happened. 

June Faves

walden pond - by Ava. Gahhhh, go read this story!
things you're told  - by Ju speaks so much truth.
#rebelliouswriting (Afraid To Turn The Page)  - by Audrey was outstanding. 
Summer 2017 Bucketlist  - by Grace. She's gonna rock this summer with this epic list.
Joy Through Tears  by Lauren was so relatable and beautifully written, as always.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT || PAINTING + 17130128310 BOOKS TO READ. SEND HELP by Sare. She's just so fun guys. XD 
Last Hour of Being 19  - by Vanessa. SHE TURNED 20 Y'ALL! <3 
Made To Inspire #16 - by Autumn always makes me smile. 

Goals Completed
Get together with friends I haven't seen in a while.
Did this! So much fun!

Go walking more.
Yesssss, did this.

Make homemade ice-cream with my siblings. 
Nooooo haven't done this, but we will get to it, this summer.


Bake a really weird fancy french desert.
K, guys I did this. I made a Charlotte Royale Cake. It was so hard, and it took all day to complete, but boy, was it amazing. Go check out this recipe from The Great British Baking Show season 2. 


July Goals
  • Meet my camp Nano goals. I will not fail by 947 words like I did in April. XD 
  • Complete college shopping.
  • Go iner-tubing.
  • Go off sugar for one week.


I've read some really great books this month. Review coming soon on Jesus < Religion by Jefferson Bethke. Such a great read. Its really challenged and encouraged me a lot, which was very needed this month! 

How was your month?
CAMP NANO STARTS IN 2 DAYS! How are you preparing?
Do you think you will try to make a Charlotte Royale Cake?